News

AFN Secures Major Victory and Compensation for First Nations Children and Families at Human Rights Tribunal

on September 6, 2019

September 6, 2019

(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said today’s ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) is a major victory for fairness and justice that must be respected by Canada. The decision secures compensation for First Nations children unnecessarily apprehended and those denied essential services.

“The AFN will always stand up and fight for First Nations children and families. This ruling is another important victory,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “This is about our children, their safety, their right to be with their families, kin and communities and their right to quality of care. No government should be fighting these fundamental values. We have to work together to give life to this ruling, just as we worked together to secure First Nations control over child welfare with the passing of Bill C-92 in the last session of Parliament. This is about forging a brighter future for First Nations children, and that’s good for all Canadians.”

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision follows a hearing on April 25 and 26, 2019. The CHRT agreed with the AFN’s submissions and has ordered Canada to provide compensation of up to $40,000 to:

  • all First Nation children who were unnecessarily apprehended on or after January 1, 2006
  • all parents or grandparents of children unnecessarily apprehended on or after January 1, 2006
  • all children denied an essential service (Jordan’s Principle) between December 12, 2007 and November 2, 2017

It is estimated that approximately 54,000 children could benefit from this ruling. Individuals can opt out of the compensation scheme, and a process is to be established to provide compensation for minors upon reaching the age of majority. The CHRT has ordered Canada to begin discussions with the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, partners in the joint complaint at the CHRT, to establish an independent process for distributing compensation to the children and parents or grandparents covered by this decision.

AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Kevin Hart, who oversees the Child Welfare portfolio for AFN, said Canada’s response to the ruling will indicate whether or not there is commitment to reconciliation and justice for First Nations children and families: “We are urging Canada not to seek a judicial review of this ruling, and to work with us to implement it. The CHRT has issued seven compliance orders against Canada since its original ruling in January 2016. It is time for Canada to stop obstructing fairness and justice for First Nation children and provide them the care and opportunity they deserve. Today is a good day for First Nations children and we will continue to protect and stand up for them.”

Bill C-92, An Act respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, affirms First Nations jurisdiction over First Nations child welfare and creates space for First Nations laws and practices regarding their families. Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle ensuring First Nations children get necessary services when they need them, and that these services are not denied because of jurisdictional disputes. It is named in memory of Jordan River Anderson, a First Nations child from the Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

Learn More

For more information please contact:

Michael Hutchinson
Senior Communication Advisor
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 244
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

 

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Angie TurnerAFN Secures Major Victory and Compensation for First Nations Children and Families at Human Rights Tribunal

Family Violence Prevention Program

on November 5, 2018

Family Violence Prevention Program

About

The Family Violence Prevention Program (FVPP) is run by Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) to support the safety of Indigenous women, children and families. The FVPP operates a network of shelters for women and children seeking safety from violence on‑reserve and in the Yukon, and provides funding for community-driven projects that target awareness and prevention of family violence on‑ and off-reserve.

Recent Resolutions

Federal Commitments

  • In their mandate letters, the Minister of Indigenous Services, Minister of Status of Women, and Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, were mandated to work together to ensure that “no one fleeing domestic violence is left without a place to turn by continuing to grow and maintain Canada’s network of shelters and transition houses.”
  • Budget 2016: $10.4 million over three years to support renovation and construction of shelters for survivors of family violence in First Nations; $33.6 million over 5 years, and $8.3 million ongoing, to support shelters serving survivors of family violence in First Nations.

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson
Director


Stephanie Wellman
Senior Policy Analyst


Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant


Martin Orr
Senior Policy Analyst


Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant


Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst


Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst


Ashley Bach
Policy Analyst


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Sid LeeFamily Violence Prevention Program

Urban Issues and Poverty Reduction

on November 5, 2018

Urban Issues and Poverty Reduction

About

In their mandate letter, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development was mandated to “lead the development of a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy.” The AFN has provided a First Nations lens to poverty and poverty reduction, namely, that poverty is multi‑dimensional and compounds on First Nations along with historical trauma and colonialism. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) anticipates working with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) over the coming months and years to develop and implement a Canadian Poverty Reduction Strategy. The AFN continues to advocate for a Nation-to-Nation relationship and adequate support for First Nations, regardless of their residency.

News

On November 6, 2018, the government of Canada introduced Bill C-87, An Act respecting the reduction of poverty, to the House of Commons for its first reading. This piece of legislation will entrench the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) in legislation, which would also establish a number of other mechanisms and institutions that are part of the PRS. The legislation will establish, among other things, the National Advisory Committee on Poverty, official poverty rates and poverty reduction targets, and official indicators of poverty. The AFN is working with ESDC to ensure the PRS will meet the needs of First Nations living in poverty.

Recent Resolutions

Federal Commitments

  • Budget 2017: $118.5 million over five years to support Indigenous peoples living in urban centres
  • Budget 2016: Renewal of Urban Aboriginal Strategy funding

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson
Director


Stephanie Wellman
Senior Policy Analyst


Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant


Martin Orr
Senior Policy Analyst


Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant


Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst


Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst


Ashley Bach
Policy Analyst


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Sid LeeUrban Issues and Poverty Reduction

Youth and Sport

on November 5, 2018

Youth and Sport

About

In 2017, the Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, and Minister of Indigenous Services,were mandated to “leverage investments in Indigenous youth and sport and ensure the promotion of culturally relevant sport as an important means to strengthen Indigenous identity and cultural pride.”

Recent Resolutions

Federal Commitments

Budget 2018: $47.5 million over five years, and $9.5 million every year following, to grow sport for social development in over 300 Indigenous communities

Budget 2017: $18.9 million over five years, and $5.5 million every four years following:

  • To support culturally relevant sport programs for Indigenous children and youth.
  • To strengthen leadership and ensure inclusiveness at the national level for Indigenous peoples in sport.
  • To provide stable and ongoing funding for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG).

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson
Director


Stephanie Wellman
Senior Policy Analyst


Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant


Martin Orr
Senior Policy Analyst


Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant


Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst


Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst


Ashley Bach
Policy Analyst


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Sid LeeYouth and Sport

Income Assistance

on November 5, 2018

Income Assistance

About

The on-reserve Income Assistance program is delivered by Indigenous Services Canada, and intends to alleviate poverty in First Nations by providing families and individuals the means to meet their basic needs. ISC also delivers the Pre-Employment Supports Program, which enables young people (18-24 years of age) to prepare to enter the workforce by providing them with such services and activities as counselling, education, training, etc.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has been active in advocating for improved income assistance programming for First Nations, and acknowledges the persistent gaps between income assistance programs and real needs in First Nations. The AFN continues to advocate for increased funding and First Nations-driven approaches to income assistance to enable First Nations to break cycles of poverty and income assistance dependency.

Committees

AFN Technical Working Group on Social Development

The AFN Technical Working Group on Social Development has met periodically since December 2017. Its focus has changed and developed over the years, from providing input on the Data Collection Instrument (DCI), used by ISC, to collect information on the on-reserve Income Assistance program, to recently providing advice and recommendations to ISC as it reviews and plans to reform the Income Assistance program. The Working Group seeks to improve ISC social programming through its recommendations, which are grounded in years of experience and knowledge. The Working Group supported the planning and hosting of a National Forum on First Nations Income Assistance in February 2018, with the next National Forum taking place in March 2019, in Enoch Cree Nation, Alberta.

Federal Commitments

Budget 2018: $86.9 million over two years beginning in 2018-19 for on-reserve Income Assistance program reform, including:

  • $8.5 million over two years (2018-19 and 2019-20) to engage with First Nations to understand how to make the on-reserve Income Assistance program more responsive to individuals and families, and how best to support First Nations individuals and families to transition to employment and/or education from Income Assistance.

  • $78.4 million over two years to support case management services for First Nations individuals transitioning to employment and/or education from Income Assistance.

Budget 2017: $39.2 million for Youth Case Management (a facet of the on-reserve Income Assistance program).

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson
Director


Stephanie Wellman
Senior Policy Analyst


Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant


Martin Orr
Senior Policy Analyst


Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant


Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst


Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst


Ashley Bach
Policy Analyst


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Sid LeeIncome Assistance

Early Learning and Child Care

on November 2, 2018

Early Learning and Child Care

About

First Nations have an inherent and sacred responsibility to care and educate their children. As such, the AFN is active in advocating for increased resources and flexibility for First Nations Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC).

ELCC for First Nations in their communities and in urban areas is delivered by way of four key initiatives:

  • First Nations Inuit Child Care Initiative (FNICCI)
  • Aboriginal Head Start Urban and Northern Communities (AHSUNC)
  • Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve (AHSOR)
  • Federally-funded daycare centres in certain provinces

Other aspects of early childhood development programming for First Nations children and families include:

  • Brighter Futures
  • Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program – First Nations and Inuit Component (CPNP)
  • Children’s Oral Health Initiative (COHI)
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Initiative – First Nations and Inuit Component
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Community Action Program for Children (CAPC)

The landscape of ELCC for First Nations is vastly different across the country. The current work of the AFN in supporting the First Nations National Expert Working Group on Early Learning and Child Care has aimed to understand regional differences in ELCC delivery and structure, and to understand how First Nations want to be supported for the best ELCC outcomes of their children.

Learn more about what the AFN is doing on ELCC and the transformation underway here.

Reports

Committees

First Nations National Expert Working Group on Early Learning and Child Care

At the 2016 AFN Annual General Assembly in Niagara Falls, Chiefs-in-Assembly passed AFN Resolution 39/2016 which directed the AFN to obtain funding to establish a national expert working group on ELCC which would oversee a 4-6 month community engagement process. This process would support the identification and confirmation of key principles, priorities, and actions of a First Nations ELCC framework along with an action plan that takes into account regional priorities, needs, and circumstances. Through the AFN Social Development Sector and the AFN Regional Offices, representatives for the National Expert Working Group on ELCC have been identified and the group has met regularly throughout 2017 and 2018. The working group has completed a draft regional engagement report and First Nations ELCC Framework report based on the regional engagements. These reports have supported the development of the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)-led effort to establish a National Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care (IELCC) Framework.

The National IELCC Framework was released on September 17, 2018. The National IELCC Framework takes a distinctions-based approach to ELCC, and provides a flexible guide for communities, service providers, policy-makers and governments to use to design and implement their own ELCC programming.

Federal Commitments

In their 2016 mandate letter, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development was mandated to “work with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to launch consultations with provinces and territories and Indigenous peoples on a National Early Learning and Child Care Framework as a first step towards delivering affordable, high-quality, flexible and fully inclusive child care.

Budget 2018: $360 million over three years to support the co-development of an Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework

Budget 2017: $7 billion over 10 years for Early Learning and Child Care, of which $130 million is targeted for Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care, starting in 2018-19

Budget 2016: $100 million for Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care on-reserve, and $29.4 million in 2016-17 for renovation and repair of on-reserve facilities used for the Aboriginal Head Start On Reserve Program and the First Nations and Inuit Child Care Initiative

At the release of the National IELCC Framework, Minister Duclos committed $1.7 billion over 10 years (as part of Budget 2017 commitments) to Indigenous ELCC. Of this, $1.02 billion over 10 years was specifically committed to First Nations ELCC.

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson
Director


Stephanie Wellman
Senior Policy Analyst


Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant


Martin Orr
Senior Policy Analyst


Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant


Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst


Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst


Ashley Bach
Policy Analyst


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Sid LeeEarly Learning and Child Care

Jordan’s Principle

on November 1, 2018

Jordan’s Principle

What is Jordan’s Principle?

Jordan’s Principle is a legal requirement resulting from the Orders of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) and is not a policy or program.

Jordan’s Principle is a child-first principle that aims to eliminate service inequities and delays for First Nations children. Jordan’s Principle states that any public service ordinarily available to all other children must be made available to First Nations children without delay or denial.

Jordan’s Principle is named in honour of Jordan River Anderson, a young First Nations boy from Norway House Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, who spent his entire life in hospital while caught in a jurisdictional dispute between the governments of Canada and Manitoba, which both refused to pay for the in-home medical care necessary for Jordan to live in his home and community.

AFN Secures Victory and Compensation for
First Nations Children and Families

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Orders Compensation 2019 CHRT 39

Canada’s conduct was wilful and reckless resulting in what we have referred to as a worst-case scenario under our Act.

(para. 234)

Jordan’s Principle Handbook

The Jordan’s Principle handbook is a tool for First Nations families and community members to learn about Jordan’s Principle and how to access it.

Who is eligible?

Jordan’s Principle:

  • Applies to all First Nations children, regardless of whether they live on or off-reserve;
  • Is not limited to children with disabilities; and
  • Under Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) policy, non-status children on-reserve are being considered eligible for coverage under Jordan’s Principle.

What is covered?

The services covered by Jordan’s Principle are as diverse as the First Nations children it serves. Any government-provided service available to all other children, including service assessments, is included in Jordan’s Principle coverage. If a service is not necessarily available to other children or is an exceptional service, the child will still have their needs evaluated to determine if the service will ensure substantive equality.

Examples of the services covered by Jordan’s Principle include, but are not limited to:

Health:

  • Mobility aids
  • Wheelchair ramps
  • Services from Elders
  • Assessments and screenings
  • Medical supplies and equipment
  • Mental health services

Social:

  • Social worker
  • Land-based activities
  • Respite care (individual or group)
  • Specialized programs based on cultural beliefs and practices
  • Personal support worker

Education:

  • School supplies
  • Tutoring services
  • Teaching assistants
  • Psycho-educational assessments
  • Assistive technology and electronics

If a service is not necessarily available to other children, or is an exceptional service, the child will still have their needs evaluated to determine if the service will ensure substantive equality. If this is the case, the government department first approached will pay for the service to ensure the child’s needs are met.

More Information

For more information on Jordan’s Principle and who to contact, please visit the following websites:

www.canada.ca/jordans-principle

https://fncaringsociety.com/jordans-principle

To report a Jordan’s Principle case, please call: 1-855-JP-CHILD (1-855-572-4453).

Federal Commitments

In July 2016, Canada announced new funding of $382.5M over three years as an interim initiative to implement Jordan’s Principle, while committing to undertake a co-development approach with First Nations about the long-term implementation of Jordan’s Principle.

Since July 6, 2016, more than 209,000 services, supports, or products for First Nations children have been approved under Jordan’s Principle.

In their 2017 mandate letter, the Minister of Indigenous Services was mandated to “develop and implement an improved response to the provision of child welfare and health care under Jordan’s Principle that focuses on the best interests of the child. This will require a holistic approach to the delivery of services that focuses on prevention, family preservation and well-being, and community wellness.”

Jordan’s Principle Summit

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) hosted the first ever national Jordan’s Principle Summit on September 12-13, 2018, at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty One Territory. More than 850 First Nations citizens, family members, leaders, service coordinators, health directors and technicians, health, social, education practitioners, service providers, and innovators gathered under the theme of Sharing, Learning, and Growing: Imagining the Future of Jordan’s Principle.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Case Timeline

On February 23, 2007, the AFN and First Nations Child and Family Caring Society filed a complaintwith the Canadian Human Rights Commission which alleged that Canada racially discriminates against First Nations children in their inequitable funding of child and family services on-reserve.

On January 26, 2016, the Tribunal ruled in favour of First Nations children (2016 CHRT 2), finding that Canada, indeed, funds the on-reserve child and family services program inequitably.

The Tribunal released an initial compliance ruling on immediate relief (2016 CHRT 10) on April 26, 2016, related to the First Nations child and family services program, the 1965 Agreement, Jordan’s Principle, and other issues.

The Tribunal issued a second compliance ruling on September 14, 2016 (2016 CHRT 16), on additional immediate relief measures and reporting on progress towards implementation of the Orders.

The Tribunal issued a third compliance ruling on May 26, 2017 (2017 CHRT 14), that expanded the definition of Jordan’s Principle, made orders on the tracking and processing of Jordan’s Principle cases, and called for publicizing of clear information on Jordan’s Principle.

The Tribunal has issued a fourth compliance ruling on February 1, 2018 (2018 CHRT 4), ordering Canada to analyze the agencies’ needs assessments previously completed, to remove factors of the funding formula that incentivize the apprehension of children pending a new funding formula, and to fully fund agency costs at actuals.

A full and comprehensive timeline of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case is available through the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada’s website.

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson
Director


Stephanie Wellman
Senior Policy Analyst


Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant


Martin Orr
Senior Policy Analyst


Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant


Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst


Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst


Ashley Bach
Policy Analyst


read more
Sid LeeJordan’s Principle

First Nations Child and Family Services

on October 26, 2018

First Nations Child and Family Services

First Nations children and families are disproportionately involved in the child and family services (CFS) system, with more than 40,000 First Nations children in care.

About

First Nations children and families are disproportionately involved in the child and family services (CFS) system, with more than 40,000 First Nations children in care. The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) continues to advocate for the rights and needs of First Nations children and families in contact with the CFS system.

The AFN is actively advocating by way of the National Advisory Committee on Child and Family Services (NAC) and its Action Tables for improved services, First Nations control, and increased funding for CFS. The AFN continues to hold Canada accountable for its actions by filing non-compliance orders with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) following inaction on the CHRT’s landmark case on discrimination against First Nations children in care.

Committees

National Advisory on First Nations Child and Family Services Program Reform (NAC)

On February 23, 2007, the AFN and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society filed a Canadian Human Rights complaint alleging Canada is discriminating against First Nations children in the provision of on‑reserve child welfare. On January 26, 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) confirmed that the federal government is discriminating against First Nations children. AFN Resolution 62/2016 mandated the AFN to re-establish the NAC with the goal of advising on the reform of, previously named, Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s (INAC) child welfare program.

The NAC is a joint advisory body consisting of regional First Nations child welfare experts, the AFN, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, and the Federal Government. The NAC is chaired by Grand Chief Ed John. For background information on the Tribunal rulings and the NAC please refer to the sections below.

The NAC and AFN have worked with the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Democracy (IFSD) at the University of Ottawa to conduct research on First Nations Child and Family Services Agencies programs, needs, and funding. Read more about this research here.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Case Timeline

On February 23, 2007, the AFN and First Nations Child and Family Caring Society filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission which alleged that Canada racially discriminates against First Nations children in their inequitable funding of child and family services on-reserve.

On January 26, 2016, the Tribunal ruled in favour of First Nations children (2016 CHRT 2), finding that Canada, indeed, funds the on-reserve child and family services program inequitably.

The Tribunal released an initial compliance ruling on immediate relief (2016 CHRT 10) on April 26, 2016, related to the First Nations child and family services program, the 1965 Agreement, Jordan’s Principle, and other issues.

The Tribunal issued a second compliance ruling on September 14, 2016 (2016 CHRT 16), on additional immediate relief measures and reporting on progress towards implementation of the Orders.

The Tribunal issued a third compliance ruling on May 26, 2017 (2017 CHRT 14), that expanded the definition of Jordan’s Principle, made orders on the tracking and processing of Jordan’s Principle cases, and called for publicizing of clear information on Jordan’s Principle.

The Tribunal has issued a fourth compliance ruling on February 1, 2018 (2018 CHRT 4), ordering Canada to analyze the agencies’ needs assessments previously completed, to remove factors of the funding formula that incentivize the apprehension of children pending a new funding formula, and to fully fund agency costs at actuals.

A full and comprehensive timeline of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal case is available through the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada’s website.

CHRT Consultation Protocol

Pursuant to the February 1, 2018, ruling of the CHRT, Canada has entered into a Consultation Protocol with the Parties of the CHRT—the AFN, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Chiefs of Ontario, and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.

The Consultation Protocol governs the direct consultation that Canada has been ordered to partake in with the Parties; the Consultation Protocol ensures that these consultations are carried out consistent with the honour of the Crown to eliminate the discrimination founded by the CHRT in its rulings. As per the CHRT, consultation shall pertain to the three phases of implementation of the rulings: immediate relief, mid- to long-term relief, and compensation.

The Consultation Protocol further establishes a Consultation Committee to oversee the relief ordered by the CHRT, with representatives of the Parties sitting on the Consultation Committee to guide this work.

The full text of the CHRT Consultation Protocol between Canada and the Parties can be found here.

News

On January 25-26, 2018, Canada hosted an Emergency Meeting on Indigenous Child and Family Services, bringing together over 300 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis child and family services technicians, experts, Chiefs, provincial and territorial Ministers in the realms of child and social services and policy representatives, and federal representatives from various departments.

At the Emergency Meeting, Minister Jane Philpott announced Canada’s Commitment to six points of action to address the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in care:

  1. Continuing to implement the CHRT orders, including Jordan’s Principle, and reforming child and family services funding to a flexible funding model.
  2. Work with partners to shift program focus to culturally-appropriate prevention, early intervention, and family reunification.
  3. Work with partners to support communities to “draw down” jurisdiction over child and family services (including exploring the possibility to co-develop federal legislation).
  4. Participate and accelerate work of tripartite and technical tables.
  5. Support Inuit and Métis leadership to advance reform on child and family services.
  6. Create a data strategy with provinces/territories and Indigenous partners.

Recent Resolutions

AFN Resolution 85/2018,
Financial Compensation for Victims of Discrimination in the Child Welfare System

AFN Resolution 53/2018,
Federal Legislation on First Nations Child Welfare Jurisdiction

AFN Resolution 11/2018,
Federal Legislation on First Nations Child Welfare Jurisdiction

AFN Resolution 92/2017
Support the Spirit Bear Plan to End Inequities in all Federally Funded Public Services for First Nations Children, Youth and Families

AFN Resolution 40/2017,
Call on Canada to Comply with the 2016 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Orders

AFN Resolution 83/2016,
National Advisory Committee on INAC’s Child Welfare Reform Engagement Strategy

AFN Resolution 62/2016,
Full and Proper Implementation of the historic Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decisions in the provision of child welfare services and Jordan’s

AFN Resolution 42/2016,
International Child Custody

Contact Social Development Staff

Jonathan Thompson
Director


Stephanie Wellman
Senior Policy Analyst


Pamela Corkum
Administrative Assistant


Martin Orr
Senior Policy Analyst


Lorna Martin
Administrative Assistant


Kara Kennedy
Policy Analyst


Jessica Quinn
Policy Analyst


Ashley Bach
Policy Analyst


read more
Sid LeeFirst Nations Child and Family Services

109-2016 Working Towards a New Urban First Nations Strategy

on May 10, 2017

TITLE: Working Towards a New Urban First Nations Strategy

SUBJECT: Urban

MOVED BY: Chief Cameron Catchway, Skownan First Nation, MB

SECONDED BY: Chief Jean Guy Whiteduck, Kitisgan Zibi Anishinabeg, QC

DECISION Carried; 1 abstention

WHEREAS:

A. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states:

  • Article 4: Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.
  • Article 21 (1): Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security.
  • Article 21 (2): States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

B. In 1998 the Government of Canada introduced its Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) which was categorized as a government-wide policy. Even as late as the spring of 2003 no publicly available document specified the actual “strategy”. However, the federal government indicated that the UAS was the means by which it would address urban Aboriginal issues “through greater internal coordination of federal activities and through partnerships with provinces, municipalities and Aboriginal stakeholders.”

C. Previous funding authorities for the UAS have not adequately provided programs and services to properly address the needs of urban First Nations residents.

D. In 2006 the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) for the purposes of delivering services to urban First Nations.

E. In 2010 the AFN Chiefs-in-Assembly passed AFN Resolution 18/2010, which supports the development of a First Nation Urban Strategy and the establishment of a First Nation Urban Strategy Advisory Committee.

F. As of April 2014, the Government of Canada provides $43 million per year to the NAFC, which launches an annual call for proposals from urban Aboriginal and other non-profit organizations for the purpose of Community Capacity Support and Urban Partnerships. The NAFC is required to post all accepted proposals on its website. Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) administers $8.1 million of UAS funding through a targeted call for proposals, which supports the development of regional and community strategic plans to guide funding provided by the NAFC.

G. Budget 2016 announced $23.7 million for the UAS in 2016-2017, which included an engagement process mandated by the Government of Canada to identify ways to strengthen the UAS and more effectively meet the needs of urban Aboriginal peoples.

H. The engagement process undertaken by INAC had a limited scope and insufficient timeframes and was not designed in a manner that would effectively address long term First Nation needs. As a result, the AFN received funding to conduct two engagement sessions (one in Edmonton and one in Montreal) that had limited participation and did not allow for fulsome review and discussion of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN)/ NAFC Memorandum of Understanding, or to develop a First Nations position on the UAS.

I. Recommendations received from First Nation participants at these two forums included: the need to engage with AFN membership and relevant First Nation stakeholders on urban priorities, programs and services consistent with the AFN Resolution 18/2010; that “urban” is not limited to major cities but also includes smaller rural cities; and the need to address the lack of accountability and transparency with the current UAS funding delivery mechanism.

J. The current UAS extension is set to expire on March 31, 2017 with no new strategy in place or plan to extend the current strategy. The extension of the UAS for 2016-2017 reduced the overall budget available to $23.7 million.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
that the Chiefs-in-Assembly:

1. Call on Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) to extend the Urban Aboriginal Strategy (UAS) through 2017-2018 with funding restored to $51 million per year.
2. Call on INAC to ensure that 2017-18 UAS funding be provided to and administered by First Nation governance structures that are nation based, regionally supported, relevant to local circumstance, able to deliver urban First Nation services, and acceptable to First Nations.
3. Call on INAC to rename the UAS to the Urban and Rural Indigenous Strategy.
4. Direct the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) to carry out AFN Resolution 18/2010 and create a First Nation Urban Strategy through a First Nation Urban Strategy Advisory Committee with regional representation.
5. Call on INAC to fund additional AFN regional engagement to assist the development of a long term, sustainable First Nations Urban and Rural Strategy by November 2017, to be included in AFN’s federal budget submission for 2017-18.
6. Direct the AFN to continue to advocate for a nation to nation relationship between the Crown and First Nations governance structures to ensure that the needs of First Nations are met regardless of residency.

Download Resolution

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Angie Turner109-2016 Working Towards a New Urban First Nations Strategy

83-2016 National Advisory Committee on INAC’s Child Welfare Reform Engagement Strategy

on May 9, 2017

TITLE: National Advisory Committee on INAC’s Child Welfare Reform Engagement Strategy

SUBJECT: Child Welfare

MOVED BY: Chief Lynn Acoose, Sakimay First Nation, SK

SECONDED BY: Chief Arnold Paul, Temagami First Nation, ON

DECISION Carried by Consensus

WHEREAS:

A. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) states:

  • Article 15 (2): States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.
  • Article 17 (2): States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment.

B. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action #1 and #3 affirm the need to address First Nation child welfare reform and to fully implement Jordan’s Principle. The Prime Minister of Canada has formally agreed to implement all of the Calls to Action.

C. In 2007, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada (the Caring Society) and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) filed a complaint pursuant to the Canadian Human Rights Act alleging that Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s (INAC) provision of First Nations child and family services to over 163,000 First Nations children is discriminatory and that implementation of Jordan’s Principle is flawed, inequitable and thus discriminatory under the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRT 1340/7008).

D. On January 26, 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) issued its decision (2016 CHRT 2) regarding the complaint filed in February 2007 by the Caring Society and the AFN. The CHRT substantiated the complaint and concluded that First Nations children and families living on reserve and in the Yukon are discriminated against in the provision of child and family services by INAC and further found that Canada’s implementation of Jordan’s Principle is discriminatory. In its decision, the CHRT made several orders, including:

  • Cease its discriminatory practices, and reform the First Nation Child and Family Services program (FNCFS).
  • Cease applying a narrow definition of Jordan’s Principle.
  • Take measures to immediately implement the full meaning and scope of Jordan’s Principle.

E. Shortly after the CHRT January 26, 2016 decision, the AFN and the Caring Society initiated discussions with INAC to re-establish the National Advisory Committee (NAC) and Regional Tables to oversee recommendations for medium and long term relief related to the CHRT decision and to provide general advice on program reform. The NAC and Regional Tables is a joint committee composed of First Nations child and family service experts appointed by AFN Regional Chiefs, the AFN, the Caring Society, and INAC. This process was used for the Joint National Policy Review of First Nations Child and Family Services (2000) and the Wen:de reports in 2005. INAC agreed to the process in general but failed to respond to correspondence in a timely fashion resulting in substantial and unnecessary delays in establishing the NAC.

F. On both April 26, 2016, and September 14, 2016, INAC was issued with two supplemental rulings from the CHRT. The CHRT found that INAC compliance to the rulings was inadequate. The CHRT made further specific orders regarding FNCFS funding and ordered Canada to apply Jordan’s Principle to all First Nations children on and off reserve, to cease case conferencing before the child receives the service and apply it to all jurisdictional disputes.

G. In response to Canada’s failure to fully comply with the CHRT orders, the NDP tabled an opposition motion on October 27, 2016 calling on the government to comply with the historic rulings of the CHRT ordering the end of discrimination against First Nations children. On November 1, 2016, the NDP motion was unanimously passed by the House of Commons. The motion specifically called for the government to:

  • Immediately investing an additional $155 million in new funding for the delivery of child welfare – the identified shortfall for this year – and establish a funding plan for future years that will end the systemic shortfalls in First Nations child welfare.
  • Implement the full definition of Jordan’s Principle as outlined in a resolution passed by the House on December 12, 2007.
  • Fully complying with all orders made by the CHRT and stop fighting Indigenous families in court who are seeking access to services covered by the federal government.
  • Make public all pertinent documents related to the overhaul of child welfare and the implementation of Jordan’s Principle.

H. On October 27, 2016, without consulting with the AFN or the Caring Society, INAC Minister Carolyn Bennett appointed a Ministerial Special Representative on First Nations child and family services (MSR) whose role is to advise the government as it executes its engagement strategy with provinces, territories and child welfare agencies to overhaul the FNFCS program.

I. To date, these engagement processes have been led by the MSR, without consultation with the AFN or the Caring Society. To date, the engagement process appears to be have been conducted in an ad hoc manner, absent any terms of reference or accountability mechanisms, needed to clarify the goals and outcomes of the MSR and ensure the work is conducted in a manner consistent with the UN Declaration and domestic law.

J. In the spirit of Article 15 (2) and 17 (2) of the UN Declaration, accountable engagement processes should be meaningful and guided by clear terms of reference developed in consultation with First Nations and First Nations child and family service agencies that clearly outline the intent, scope, impacts and accountability mechanisms of the engagement. Such procedures have been lacking throughout INAC’s engagement plan.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED
that the Chiefs-in-Assembly:

1. Express deep concern regarding Canada’s failure to immediately and fully comply with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT) decision.
2. Call on Canada to immediately comply with any and all orders issued by the CHRT without reservation.
3. Fully support the opposition motion passed in the House of Commons on November 1, 2016 and call on Canada to take immediate steps to fully comply with the motion.
4. Call on Canada to affirm that the National Advisory Committee (NAC) and Regional Tables process proposed by Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society is the legitimate process to provide advice to the Chiefs and federal government on First Nations child and family services reform and the implementation on Jordan’s Principle.
5. Call on Canada to immediately provide the information, resources and support necessary for the NAC and Regional Tables process to convene and complete their work.
6. Inform Canada that the Ministerial Special Representative on First Nations child and family services (MSR) engagement process is not a replacement for the NAC and Regional Tables process and in no way should prejudice Canada’s full and proper compliance with the CHRT decisions.
7. Call on Canada to immediately refocus the mandate of the MSR to enhance the internal capacity of INAC and other federal departments to implement the CHRT decisions (2016 CHRT 2; 2016 CHRT10; 2016 CHRT 16 and any further orders) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action. This includes, but is not limited to, shifting Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada operating culture to promote non-discrimination, reconciliation, and observance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples and the Organization of American States American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by designing and delivering professional training and performance measures for every member of the civil service up to and including Deputy Ministers along with any of its agents, successors or assigns related to the provision of services to First Nations peoples on and off reserves.

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Angie Turner83-2016 National Advisory Committee on INAC’s Child Welfare Reform Engagement Strategy
Assembly of First Nations
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